Written by Brian Azarello
Art by Eduardo Risso
A man in a black suit approaches you. He hands you a attache which contains a gun, 100 untraceable bullets and enough evidence to prove without a doubt who ruined your life and how. You are assured that no matter what you do, there will be no repercussions. What do you do?
100 Bullets is a series of graphic novels from Vertigo. The 13th and final book in the series arrived in stores last week. The story starts off with the mysterious Agent Graves offering these attaches to people who have hit rock bottom. How they respond to the choice opened up to them – do they kill the person responsible for their predicament or do they walk away? – forms the basis of the early stories. However, as the series progresses, it becomes clear that there is a story behind the story. A secret stretching back 500 years leads to blood shed today. Ultimately, all the secrets that have been kept and lies that have been told begin to unravel and no body’s hands are clean.
The art and writing in this series are amazing. Azarello manages to capture the vocal stylings of everyone from upper class old white men in penthouses to African American women living below the poverty line. The series heads all over the USA with stops in France and Mexico thrown in for extra measure. Risso combines this brilliant dialogue with a style of art that is unmistakeably his and suits this crime noir story perfectly. Dave Johnson’s covers are amazing. He has an eye for graphic design that really jumps off the page.
Make no mistake. This book certainly earns its mature readers label. If this was a movie, it would be MA or R. It’s full of sex, nudity, swearing, drugs and violence. The noir classics of beautiful women and men getting their hands bloody. Yes, the content can be unhelpful. Which is a giant shame, because the questions this book raises are well worth exploring.
The theme from the very start, which is made even clearer in the final book, is that of choice. Everyone has a choice. You may not like the choices you’ve been given, but you still have a choice. No one is forcing you to pick up the gun and use it. It’s a choice. And the choice you make will have repercussions. Everyone is responsible for the choices they make.
You too have been given a choice. In front of you is not an attache with a gun and 100 bullets. Instead you have been given the good news about Jesus. What do you do with that information? Do you turn and follow him or do you walk away and live like he doesn’t exist. Just like the choices people make in 100 Bullets, your choice will have repercussions too. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) Consequently, anyone who does not call on the name of the Lord will not be saved. What do you do?